Brett Eldredge, Kelsea Ballerini and Others Stun at ‘CMA Country Christmas’ 2016

Earlier this month, on Election Day to be exact, country fans were able to escape talk of the 2016 presidential race if only for a little while at the 2016 CMA Country Christmas taping held at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn. For nearly four hours, some of the biggest acts in country music took the famed stage for their renditions on the holiday classics. While we don’t want to give too much away, here’s a brief synopsis of several can’t miss performances. Tune in Monday, Nov. 28 from 8:00-10:00 PM/ET on ABC for the complete broadcast.

Jennifer Nettles at CMA Country Christmas, Photo by Donn Jones / CMA

Jennifer Nettles at CMA Country Christmas, Photo by Donn Jones / CMA

For the seventh year, Jennifer Nettles served as host of CMA Country Christmas. Her charm and class kept the show rolling with several beautiful costume changes while her impressive choreography (she does a flip in the opening number!) and vocal range on several songs left a lasting mark. Whether she was performing solo or with artists like Loretta Lynn, Trisha Yearwood, Idina Menzel and Andra Day, her festive spirit shined through each song.

Meanwhile, Brett Eldredge and Chris Young showcased why they’re two of the most promising male vocalists of the genre. Eldredge received a standing ovation after his spellbinding performance of “O Holy Night.” A song he grew up singing in church, he said he had to feature the holiday classic for his mom and family in the audience.

Brett Eldredge at CMA Country Christmas, Photo by Donn Jones / CMA

Brett Eldredge at CMA Country Christmas, Photo by Donn Jones / CMA

“This is one of my favorite songs. Growing up, I sang this song every year in the church choir loft,” he told the audience.

His remaining songs included tracks off his recent Christmas album, Glow. Much like the album, he transported listeners to the days of Frank Sinatra with a big band behind him complete with a horn section alongside his booming vocals.

Young also brought the holiday spirit with songs from his first holiday album, It Must Be Christmas, as well as one very special guest. Later, he’d take the stage alone for a heartfelt cover of Darlene Love’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).”

Kacey Musgraves at CMA Country Christmas, Photo by Donn Jones / CMA

Kacey Musgraves at CMA Country Christmas, Photo by Donn Jones / CMA

While the men soared vocally, the females also enjoyed the spotlight. Kelsea Ballerini, Kacey Musgraves, Kelly Clarkson and Trisha Yearwood performed two songs as each reminded the packed audience at the Opry the power of the female voice. While Clarkson evoked the fun that the holidays bring with her jaw-dropping vocal runs and contagious energy, Musgraves shared the sometimes sadness that occurs this time of year with her poignant self-penned song “Christmas Makes Me Cry.” As always, Yearwood showcased her staying power with her pristine vocals on “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” while newer act Ballerini held her own on “My Favorite Things.”

Additional highlights included a mesmerizing performance of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” by The Voice winner Jordan Smith, Sarah McLachlan’s haunting “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” and Rascal Flatts’ collaboration with Lee University Choir on “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” A much needed escape from the real world, CMA Country Christmas once again brought the festive cheer to country fans.